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September 21 2012

Flash spotted on Jupiter: Is it a hit?


Astronomers are abuzz over sightings of a flash on Jupiter which suggests that the giant planet has taken another bullet for the solar system team.

Monday's report follows Jovian impacts in 2009 and 2010. As in those earlier cases, the call has gone out to look for any visible scars on Jupiter's cloud tops. That would be a sure sign that an asteroid or comet was drawn in by the planet's gravitational pull, potentially saving us from a cosmic collision threat.

"It's kind of a scary proposition to see how often Jupiter gets hit," said George Hall, an amateur astronomer from Dallas who captured the flash on video this morning.

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